Nobody wants to talk about it, but…

Let me ask you a simple question – if you were to die or suffer from a serious illness, resulting in a loss of income, what would you or your loved ones be prepared to give up?

Putting aside the emotionally devastating impact:

What would the effect be on your family’s hopes for the future?

Could your company expect to continue to be as successful without you as it has been to date, or you had hoped for it to be in the future?

Would you have regrets for not having put appropriate arrangements in place at a time when you were fit and able to do so?

What would you be prepared to give up? Your retirement aspirations? Christmas presents for your loved ones or the foreign holidays? Your future financial nest egg or your home?

And how would you feel? Surely you’d be wanting to focus on your recovery without having to worry about your financial problems? You’d almost certainly want to know that, whatever happens, life will be able to continue for those closest to you without them having to worry about money or considering seriously reigning in their plans.

So, what should you do about it?  Life insurance isn’t necessarily expensive, particularly when you put it into context with the cost of not having it.

Life can appear random at times; that is, we can plan for the foreseen but what about the unforeseen?  We may choose not to face up to some of the grim realities of life yet we see and hear about it on an almost daily basis – hoping that, with luck, it won’t happen to us or our nearest and dearest.

If you are concerned about the financial impacts that could arise as a result of you or a loved one suffering from a critical illness or even death, and the impact this could have on your business or livelihood, then get in touch with Assured Life Advisers and talk to us about critical illness cover and life insurance.

5 reasons why it can pay to take advice about life insurance

5 reasons why it can pay to take advice about life insurance

Grab yourself a cup of coffee as we take a look at 5 reasons why it can pay to take advice about life insurance:

1) Financial Advisers add value

A Financial Adviser is qualified to help you assess the potential impact to your lifestyle, family or business, should you or a loved one, or an employee, suffer from a serious illness or die.

You will receive specific recommendations to mitigate against these risks, which will consider any current provisions, including benefits available via an employer and State Benefits for example.

This should provide you with peace of mind that should the worst happen your financial concerns should be minimised.

2) In many instances, the initial advice is free

Many advisers offer an initial consultation free of charge. Therefore, the only cost of advice, in many cases, is perhaps an hour of your time.

The adviser will be paid by the insurance company should they place your business with them. They will need to be able to demonstrate to the regulator of financial services (the ‘Financial Conduct Authority‘) that they placed your business impartially, that is, based on client benefits, as opposed to which insurer pays the most commission.

3) Buying life insurance can be like buying a well-fitting suit

That is to say, life insurance comes in different shapes and sizes.

For example, some life insurance policies pay out a lump sum – that’s one payment, which is typically much larger in size than a policy that pays out regularly, for example monthly.  There are policies that will pay out a fixed amount of money should a qualifying event happen during the policy’s term, as opposed to a policy that pays out a reducing amount over the policy term, in line with a repayment mortgage for example.

The shape and size of such policies can vary greatly, as can their costs, so identifying which is most appropriate to cover specific liabilities can be complicated. A Financial Adviser will be able to help you assess your options and will recommend appropriate solutions.

4) Underwriting can be a minefield.

That is, an insurer is going to want to assess the risks associated with providing cover via an appropriate life insurance policy – be it covering one or more people.

The risk of somebody suffering from a critical illness or dying can be assessed on many levels. An insurer will want to know the age of the prospective life assured as well as details about their lifestyle, occupation, whether they’ve suffered from any previous medical conditions or partake in any particularly hazardous pursuits.

They will be interested to know of any potential hereditary conditions an applicant may be susceptible to and may even ask to see an applicant’s medical report from their GP, which is often par for the course.

Given the scope of an underwriter’s potential queries, a Financial Adviser will be able to help you answer these questions appropriately so that there should be very few reasons why a claim would fail later due to ‘non-disclosure’. That is, if a policy holder is later found to have not disclosed, or to have withheld, relevant information at the time of applying for a policy, an insurance company would be well within their right to not pay out on a claim.

Not only would this render any previous premium payments a waste of money, perhaps more significantly this could leave any supposedly rightful claimants without any right to claim.  Therefore, it could be said that it pays to take advice.

5) Know exactly what is covered and what isn’t.

The difference between what one insurance company covers by way of a serious illness compared to that of another can differ greatly.

For example, some insurance companies won’t pay out in the event of an illness until it has progressed to a particular severity, whereas others may pay out partially but earlier on, before the illness has progressed further.

Some may pay out for something as specific as an Eye Stroke whereas others may not cover this at all. It therefore pays to know exactly what is and what isn’t covered – particularly if there’s a history of a particular illness within the applicant’s family.

These differing factors regarding what is and what isn’t covered by a life insurance policy can significantly affect the price paid. Again – it often pays to take advice.

If you are considering taking out life insurance, get in touch with Assured Life Advisers today.

The HoneyRose Foundation

The HoneyRose Foundation

Assured Life Advisers are proud helpers and supporters of Lynn Duffy MBE and the HoneyRose Foundation.

Working with our clients, be they business owners or families, Assured Life Advisers helps protect businesses and livelihoods through arranging appropriately tailored life insurance solutions, which have the potential to protect the livelihoods of those insured and those of their families and loved ones.

But what about those who haven’t arranged life insurance, where charities – like the HoneyRose Foundation, may be the only source of hope?

Let’s face it, not everyone actually needs to buy life insurance, though they may still wish to benefit others – charities, for instance, by that means.

But what about those that want to protect their business, family or mortgage from the financial consequences of a serious illness?  A critical illness policy (a form of life insurance) could provide the money to seek alternative treatment. Perhaps even abroad? It could be used to buy additional care or to adapt a home to simplify daily living. It could even be used for the terminally ill to bring retirement dreams forward.  But that means doing something now – later might be too late.  And crowd-funded sources of help, no matter how professional and well-motivated, don’t have bottomless pockets.

And here we’d like to shine the spotlight on Lynn Duffy MBE of the HoneyRose Foundation and look at their objectives.

In 2004, Lynn founded the HoneyRose Foundation following the loss of three of her close friends Nicola, Karen and Rose to terminal illnesses.  It was during their final months that Lynn learned that there was very little charitable support to create lasting memories for patients over the age of 40.  There are many charities able to grant wishes for those under the age of 40, and it is clear from social media how gratefully these are received; the enduring memories they create for families and loved ones are a priceless emotional legacy.

But what about those over the age of 40?  Once upon a time there really was very little.

Recognising this, even though she had long been planning her retirement after working for 38 years as a nurse with the NHS, in 2004 Lynn founded the HoneyRose Foundation and her second career began.

From their prominent office in the centre of St Helens, Lynn and her team plan, prepare and often choreograph special occasions for those with terminal illnesses, locally and nationally. It would be almost impossible to exaggerate just how difficult a task it is to run such a charity and to ensure its continued financial viability.  It takes 100% commitment and the ability to lead a team of employees and volunteers throughout the year.  They may have to remove complicated barriers associated with medical conditions; open doors to the famous so the dying can meet their idols, run a shop that relies almost entirely on charity and goodwill whilst meeting all the corporate challenges associated with running a highly regulated business.

All at a time of life when Lynn might have expected to turn her attention to less stressful matters.

The HoneyRose Foundation is never happier than when those receiving their support provide feedback about their special occasions they have made possible. From walking out on the pitch at Wembley, to getting married from the hospital bed, these stories sell the charity’s purpose and are essential for fostering support from benefactors.

And, when you’ve not had a day’s holiday in months, and fought with the Utility Providers over a previous tenant’s unpaid bills, organised umpteen fund-raising events and have almost finalised this year’s Christmas’s parties whilst it’s cracking the flags outside, what more can you do to prove to everyone that you’re still fighting for those that are currently ill or those that are yet to receive their diagnosis?

If you’re Lynn, you plan to abseil down Liverpool Anglican Cathedral – not for your own charity but for others, recognising that it’s by working together and supporting one another that supports the enduring reach of charities, ensuring there is sustainability and covering as wide a range of worthy causes as possible.

In 2015, Lynn received her MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

On 5th August 2017, Lynn Duffy MBE abseiled down Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, raising funds for the local community of Liverpool.

If you would like to support the HoneyRose Foundation. you can do so here:

https://www.gofundme.com/grant-more-wishes-to-the-sick.

If you would like to earn more about the HoneyRose Foundation then please visit their website here:

https://www.honeyrosefoundation.org.uk/

You Are The Ref Kilimanjaro 2017 Challenge

You Are The Ref Kilimanjaro 2017 Challenge

October 2017 will mark the 21st anniversary since Joel Wood of Assured Life Advisers broke his back following an unprovoked attack in which he was stabbed in the chest and subsequently suffered a fall of 21-feet on to a motorway. Back then, aged just 21, Joel set himself the challenge of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, with surgical metal work in his back, a pelvis that had been broken in a couple of places and an arm that had been broken in only one.

Why Kilimanjaro? If you ask Joel, he’ll say, like Mallory, “Because it’s there”. And Africa looked pretty attractive from his makeshift ward back at his parents’ home. With ignorance and the arrogance of youth on his side, once Joel was mobile he set off to take on the challenge of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. He did this, every one of its 5,895m, much to the delight of friends and family back home.

Now, 21 years later, Joel will be returning to ‘Kili’ together with approximately 40 other individuals, each with their own reasons for setting out to “kill the hill” and collectively to raise much needed funds for, among others, the Steve Prescott Foundation (SPF).

Oh, and whilst they’re there, they’ll be attempting to secure a place in the Guinness Book of World Records by staging the highest-ever game of football, played within the crater of this now (hopefully) dormant volcano.

The game will be refereed by the former Premier League official and You Are The Ref International Senior Coach, Mark Halsey.

This epic challenge seeks to raise much needed funds for The Christie Hospital in Manchester, the Rugby League Benevolent Fund and – Assured Life’s principle charity – the Steve Prescott Foundation Special Causes Fund.

As the internationally-acclaimed website and challenge sponsors You Are The Ref put it:

“Steve Prescott MBE, who played for England, St Helens and Hull FC during an illustrious Rugby League career which spanned a decade, set up the Steve Prescott Foundation in 2007 after being diagnosed with a rare form of abdominal cancer. After raising almost £500,000, he died in 2013 at the age of just 39. The SPF has continued his astonishing legacy by passing the £1 Million mark in donations”

Assured Life Advisers are proud to be supporting the SPF and this Kilimanjaro challenge forms the cornerstone of this year’s charitable activity. Working with their clients, be they business owners or families, Assured Life Advisers are there to protect businesses and livelihoods through arranging appropriately tailored life insurance solutions with the potential to protect the livelihoods of those insured and those of their families and loved ones.

Although charities provide an often much-needed lifeline to those most in need, having life insurance to protect your business or family against loss of life, or a critical illness, can be much more affordable than many people may think – the benefits payable at a time of need can provide the lifeline that could mean the difference between life and death.

You can follow the team as they take on this challenge here:

Twitter: @youaretheref @Kili4Precky @StevePrescott1 @SPFCHARITY @RefereeHalsey

The Steve Prescott Foundation: https://www.steveprescottfoundation.co.uk/

SPF Challenge page: https://www.steveprescottfoundation.co.uk/news/721-you-are-the-ref-comsponsor-kilimanjaro-challenge-2017

Astronauts need not apply

Astronauts need not apply

About a month before Apollo 11 was due to launch, Neil Armstrong and his colleagues found themselves in a dilemma. Due to the high-risk nature of their jobs, and the real possibility that their trip to the moon could turn out to be one-way, they were unable to obtain life insurance. So, how to provide financial security for their families? Then they had an idea:  they autographed hundreds of covers – they’re envelopes signed and post marked on important dates, knowing that these would be worth a lot of money should they fail to get back to terra firma.

Which, in a strange way, led me to muse as follows.

I am a Financial Adviser, which is why, when at a social gathering or wherever, people ask me what I do, I find myself hopping nervously from foot to foot and perspiring slightly.  Let’s face it – I have to -the financial services industry has suffered a pretty poor press over recent years. A bolder spirit might look them in the eye and say, “I am a Financial Adviser,” but not before having identified the nearest exit. My own experience is that such heart-warming frankness invariably causes the enquirer’s eyes to glaze over in fear of a boring diatribe about pensions and investments.

So what do I tell them I do?  I tell them that I help business owners and individuals provide financial security through the arrangement of appropriate insurance policies that pay out should something horrible happen.  If this produces a glimmer of interest, then I explain further: I set up Assured Life Advisers, a trading name of financial advisers Camargue Chambers LLP to promote life assurance as a fundamental part of financial planning. Life insurance underpins most of our plans in life and provides financial security – peace of mind, if you like – should the worst happen.  That is why it has a fundamental role in most financial plans.

Most of us work hard and plan for a financially secure future, including a comfortable retirement surrounded by friends and family. But what if something should get in the way of that? Something horrible and perhaps indiscriminate such as a critical illness – or death? What then?

Life insurance provides a safety net which, although it cannot ease the pain or suffering caused directly by life-changing events, it can provide the assurance that the effect of those life-changing events need not be catastrophic. I often say to my clients “I hope your life insurance is the biggest waste of money you’ve ever spent,” in the hope that, – like the life vest under your airplane seat or the defibrillator at work – they will never need to claim on it. But, should the worst ever happen, that life insurance could perhaps be the wisest investment they ever made.

Happily, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon before returning home safely. The covers remain highly sought after today and can exchange hands for as much as $30,000. 

But most of us aren’t going to the moon.  there are far more prosaic and accessible solutions nowadays for providing financial security.  Whilst we can’t send you to the Moon and back, here at Assured Life Advisers we can guide you through the process of assessing your risks and implementing appropriate and affordable solutions to provide you with the financial security you need for your plans to remain on track.

Unless you’re an astronaut, in which case: keep signing the covers.

Si vis pacem, para bellum – “If you want peace, prepare for war”

Si vis pacem, para bellum – “If you want peace, prepare for war”

Si vis pacem, para bellum is a Latin adage translated as, “If you want peace, prepare for war”.

Very often close friends, colleagues or family members think it is a good idea to go into business together. They may be fed up working for somebody else or they may have a fantastic idea which they want to develop.

There is nothing wrong with that in itself.  However, if that sounds like you, there are a number of sensible and cost-effective steps which you may take at the start of your journey to ensure future success and harmony.

You should ensure your trading medium is appropriate and take some preliminary professional advice.  Whether you trade as a partnership or through a limited company, there will be different issues to take into account.

From the outset you should sit down with your advisers and try to address every matter which could go wrong in the future.  As you know relationships can change over time and you need to be able to deal with situations as they arise. Think of every possible worst case scenario and put in place a shareholders’ or partnership agreement to provide a solution (i.e. if you want peace, prepare for war).

Some typical examples may be:

  • My co-shareholder has walked out on me and taken all customer details with him to set up in competition, what can I do?
  • My business partner wants to wind up the business and move abroad, what are my options?
  • My co-shareholder has died, what will happen to his shares in the company?

If you have any questions on how best to protect your business, or you would like a copy of our free checklist on shareholder protection, please contact Assured Life Advisers. Assured Life Advisers work with other industry professionals including accountants and legal advisers to provide you with joined-up, pragmatic advice.

Authors:  Joel Wood, Assured Life Advisers

Andy Herricks, Corporate Partner, Fletcher Day

Fletcher Day (http://www.fletcherday.co.uk/), established in 2009, is a full-service commercial law firm headquartered in Mayfair, London.